Pedro Miret Prieto, 88, who reached the rank of commander in the rebel army from its incorporation in the fight in the Sierra Maestra, has died of a heart attack. He died early Friday morning in Havana and his ashes will be exhibited in Colon Cemetery’s Pantheon of Veterans this Saturday, according to information from the official media.
Considered one of Fidel Castro’s stalwart, Miret was born in 1927 in Santiago de Cuba and was among the assailants of the Moncada Cuartel in his native city. Taken prisoner for his actions, he was sentenced and sent to prison on the Isle of Pines.
A civil engineer, Miret Prieto benefited from the amnesty under which Fidel Castro and Raul Castro were also released. He then left for Mexico, where he participated in the preparations for the expedition of the yacht Granma, bringing the revolutionaries back to Cuba, but did not travel on the ship because we was arrested by Mexican authorities.
A man of few words and diminished charisma, Miret served Raul Castro’s number two in the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) during the turbulent year of 1959. He also served as Minister of Agriculture and later of Mining, Metallurgy and Fuel.
At the first Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba he was a member the Secretariat of the Central Committee, and in 1983 he also held a seat on the Politburo, where he remained until 1991.
With his departure in 2009 from the position of vice president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, which he had held since 1976, rumors soared of problems with his health or of a fall from grace. His removal from office coincided with the restructuring of the executive implemented when Raul Castro came to power.
Miret was one of the few members of the so-called historical generation who was still alive. For decades he was considered by many analysts as a representative of the most hard line and resistant to change among the ruling party.